We were doing some hiking in the Berne, NY area and saw the Kenrose Sanctuary was nearby. Since we usually aren’t out this way, we decided we would stop by before grabbing lunch.
Kenrose Preserve, with its 1.5-mile trail, offers a case study in the reversion of cultivated farmland back to natural forest. The land at this site, which was at the western boundary of Van Rensselaer Manor, was settled in the 18th century. Farms in this area raised grains, potatoes, hops and hay for horses that worked on the Erie Canal. While many neighboring farms were abandoned early in the 1900s, some cultivation continued at Kenrose into the 1950s.Nature.org
The Kenrose Sanctuary was easy for us to find using Google Maps.
There is a sign out by the road that is easy to see.
There is only one parking spot here, and not really any other space to park along the road.
The trail kiosk looks quite old and almost abandoned, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Fortunately, despite no information at the trailhead, you can find the trail map online here. I recommend saving it to your phone before you head to the preserve, because I couldn’t get a signal at the Kenrose Sanctuary. Therefore, we did not have a map, but I had read that the trail was just over a mile.
There are trail markers along the trail, and without a map, I assumed it was a loop as the markers were all the same color at the beginning.
The trail was muddy from the start. We have been doing lots of hikes lately, even doing a 3+ mile hike nearby, and this the Kenrose Sanctuary was the most mud I have seen in a while.
The trail loop goes uphill for the first half, as we stayed to the left of the loop. It may not look like that steep, but it was hard to get traction to get up the hill.
The majority of the trail was mud, and I found myself either sinking in mud or struggling not to bushwhack, as I try to avoid brush and ticks, and don’t want to widen the trail around the mud.
The best thing about the Kenrose Sanctuary is this 200 year old tree.
The Kenrose Sanctuary is well marked with lots of markers. It was interesting to see a lot of the markers were painted sardine cans.
From the parking lot, the first half of the trail was uphill. At the highest parts of the sanctuary, there was less mud, and a little bit of a different landscape.
There is a stream along the way.
Crossing this little stream was more of a challenge than I expected. The mud was slippery going down, and it was hard to get traction going up the other side, so I almost had to lay on my stomach and crawl on the moss to get up.
Not surprisingly, with all the water at the sanctuary, we saw a red eft.
I was hoping that the downhill (return half) part of the trail would be better, but we hit some more mud. You could see lots of deep tracks and spots where other hikers had slid in the mud. There were also lots of deer tracks in the mud, and you could see that the deer had slipped a lot in the mud as well.
We made sure to do a thorough tick check when we left the sanctuary, because we had brushed up on a lot of plants trying to avoid the mud. I wish the trails were better maintained here. While the trails were clearly marked, we struggled avoiding the mud and even trying to cross the stream.
This trail was a tough for us, and perhaps this would be a better trail in the drier months, such as at the end of the summer.
Visit the Kenrose Sanctuary website here.